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A month after testing the Firecracker Burrito in Southern California, Irvine-based Taco Bell is experimenting again with another one-of-kind fast food meal: the Forbidden Bowl.

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The dish, available for one week at a corporate restaurant in Irvine, contains a choice of protein (beef, shredded chicken, grilled chicken or steak), black “forbidden” rice, shredded lettuce, black beans, sour cream, diced tomatoes, fried avocado wedges and “forbidden” sauce.

The black vegan rice, a premium ancient grain packed with disease-fighting antioxidants, is cooked in the same seasoned water bath as Taco Bell’s other rice options. It is topped with three crescent -shaped battered and deep fried avocado wedges. The bright orange forbidden sauce is made with cayenne pepper and garlic onion seasoning to give it an extra kick.

The three ingredients have never been used before at Taco Bell, the chain’s culinary team told a group of reporters during a Tuesday afternoon taste test.

“We’re always about being a brand of firsts,” said Missy Schaaphok, a nutrition strategist on the food innovation team.

The colorful dish is served as bowl, but can also be wrapped in a tortilla to create the Forbidden Burrito.

In an usual twist for Taco Bell, the test item will only be available at one store instead of multiple locations. Taco Bell tests roughly 25-30 items a year. Most fly under the radar, but a few crazy concoctions earn buzz when fans discover them in stores.


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Last month, a Firecracker burrito served with a packet of spicy Pop Rocks, went viral after it was spotted by Foodbeast in a few Orange County restaurants.

The Santa Ana-based food marketing site said this about the burrito: “They (the Pop Rocks) add a sweet-spicy flavor along with a fizzy texture to the burrito, but be warned: too many of these popping candies at once could make the burrito taste way too sweet, which, as I’ve learned the hard way, is not a pleasant feeling.”

The Firecracker burrito has since left Orange County. On Tuesday, Taco Bell said restaurants in Toledo, Ohio are scheduled to test the Pop Rocks burrito in early October.

The Forbidden Bowl or Burrito can be found starting Thursday, Sept. 14, at a Taco Bell near The District shopping center. Address: 2222 Barranca Parkway, Irvine. The a la carte price ranges from $3.49 to $3.99. It will be available through Thursday, Sept. 21.


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